Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black Welcome to UGA's 2012 Turfgrass Field Day

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Dr. Gerald Arkin: Let’s give Commission Gary Black a round of applause. Gary. [Applause]

Gary Black: Thank you Dr. Arkin; thanks Jerry. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to grab this thing a little bit. Y’all, I appreciate the chance to be here. Thank you for being here. That’s what it’s all about. Let me just tell you, if I were to ask the question I bet we could get a pretty good shaking of heads – we live in a time of uncertainty. We have a lot of economic challenges; a lot of things that are out there that certainly are in front of us. But let me deliver you just a little bit of certainty this morning. I’m certain of several things and I’m going to run through these real quickly. The first thing I’m certain of is I’d better not talk too long. [Laughter] And so I’m real certain of that. I am certain also that you now have a Georgia Department of Agriculture that understands the economic, the billion dollar economic, importance of urban agriculture. I am certain of that. We appreciate the partnership with this University. That’s another thing I’m very certain of that we have a partnership now with the Department of Agriculture, the lead a regulatory agency for agriculture. That partnership is strong, I would suggest stronger than ever with our state’s flagship institution – our land grant university – the University of Georgia. Certainly all campuses but particularly here at Griffin, it’s so important. That partnership is now demonstrated in the fact that we’re now co-… I guess y’all are somewhat of our… We’re tenants now. We’re partners in that we’ve moved some of our efforts of kind of decentralizing state government. Maybe that’s our answer to some of the transportation woes. We’re trying to get fewer of our people in Atlanta and we’ve got some of them here in Griffin with our Plant Industry Division and Mike Evans and others. We have offices here that we are very proud of and I’m going to continue to foster that working relationship. I am certain, ladies and gentlemen, that you do have a governor that can spell agriculture and he has a deep commitment to it. Coming from an agricultural background and having a governor whose dad was a Vocational Agriculture teacher, let me tell you what, that’s important for all of us. I’m certain the governor would much rather be here than being socked in in Atlanta. But on behalf of him, his greetings and his commitment, I can tell you that it is strong. I am certain, ladies and gentlemen, that we have got a Department of Agriculture, real quickly too, we’re interested in – as far as urban agriculture goes – involving you in making our “Georgia Grown” campaign which is the branding of Georgia grown products. It’s kind of been a natural fit for fruits and vegetables for a long time, but I am certain of our commitment to making sure Mary Kay and others, Bryan Tolar and others in the ag industry and the urban ag industry that Georgia Grown when it comes to urban agriculture and those Georgia Grown companies that are active in urban agriculture, that you’ve got a partner in us. And we’ve really looked for some bright things to come. In the future, as we brand the agricultural services and agricultural practices all across our commodity spectrum, I’m certain that that is going to be something positive for industry. And lastly, the one you’ve been most looking forward too, I’m certain that we ought to do a better job of recognizing heroes when they’re in our midst. You know when we kind of get in this political game and some of our friends in a room, it’s kind of you call one another’s name and that kind of happens in these circles. But I hope you’ll know this, and this from my heart – my friend's right down here – when you’ve got a hero in your presence, you'd better recognize him. We’ve got John Yates over here who has had distinguished service in the State House of Representatives. But let me tell you, he’s a World War II veteran and he’s one of my heroes and he serves this area well. We ought to recognize him right now. I’m grateful to you. [Applause] I’ve got a father-in-law and a dad that served in Korea and I did not, and I'd suggest there some over here that did but others of us that did not; but it’s because of folks like that paid the price. He leads Veteran’s Affairs and does… Boy, you talk about a passionate advocate for veterans in Atlanta, he’s right there. He is a hero. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m certain too that you’re going to have a good day today. You’re going to see the newest of technologies; you’re going to see the new varieties. It’s going to be a great day. The Lord provided a great day. Let us rejoice and be glad in it because this is a day He’s made. Lastly, I’m certain you’ve got a good leader here at thisUniversity that’s going to lead our efforts today. He’s put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this event as well as other members of his team. I hope you will join me in welcoming our leader for the day, Dr. Clint Waltz. [Applause] 

© 2012 University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Griffin Campus